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MPD Chief: Operation Artemis leads to charges against 15 child predators | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


MPD Chief Ron Campurciani (right) discusses Operation Artemis during a news conference Friday afternoon.

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Mooresville Police Department announced on Friday that 15 individuals will face prosecution for internet crimes against children as the result of Operation Artemis, a three-day sting operation involving multiple local, state and federal agencies.

Chief Ron Campurciani called it the “largest child predator operation” in MPD’s history.

Preparation for Operation Artemis began in December 2023 and involved 19 agencies and 65 personnel from those agencies. 

The suspects utilized online platforms including ChatApp, Discord, DoubleList, Facebook, FetLife, Grindr, Mega Personal Ad, Skip the Games, and Sniffies to solicit minors.

The suspects, who ranged in from 25 to 78 and were from as far away as Gretna, Va., believed they were making arrangements to meet boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 15 for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities, the chief said.

Nine of the 15 suspects tried to entice the individual they believed was an underage boy or girl to get in their vehicle, Campurciani added.

“The predators you see here are every parent’s nightmare,” the chief said. “This operation saved lives of countless children.”

From May 28-30, about two dozen “chatters” involved in Operation Artemis visited the various online platforms, where they connected with adult men who were interested in sexual activity with underage boys and girls.

In addition to the personnel who made contact with the predators online, law enforcement personnel were also involved in surveillance, apprehension and interrogation of the suspects.

Fourteen suspects have been arrested and one individual is wanted on an outstanding warrant. The suspects included an active-duty military service member and a former school bus driver. None of the suspects had a record of being charged with sex crimes, the chief said.

The MPD began preparing for the operation after noticing an increase in the number of tips it was receiving from other agencies related to individuals in the Mooresville area accessing child exploitation material online.

Additional suspects will face charges, Campurciani said.

The suspected child predators’ photos were displayed at Friday’s MPD news conference.

Suspects

The following individuals were arrested:

Brandon Cassiano, 30, of Mooresville  was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Cassiano was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Kenneth Lanning, 78, of Clayton was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing, Felony Third-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, and Felony Second-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. Lanning was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $150,000 secured bond.

Joshua Lara, 27, of High Point was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Lara was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Thomas Trickett, 65, of Cornelius was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Trickett was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Dawson Davidson, 25, of Taylorsville was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Dawson was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Paul Corkery, 45, of Concord was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Corkery was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Nien Eya Y, 45, of Charlotte was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing and Felony Soliciting Prostitution of a Minor. Eya Y was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $150,000 secured bond.

Elvin Rodezno Rodriguez, 39, of Charlotte was charged with Felony Soliciting Prostitution of a Minor. Rodezno Rodriguez was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Michael Smith, 55, of Charlotte was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Smith was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Wilbur Cole III, 28, of Gretna, Va., was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Cole was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond.

Aaron Mark Mayhew, 33, of Cherryville was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Mayhew was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Christopher Bell, 29, of Mooresville was charged with Misdemeanor Solicitation of Prostitution. Bell was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $1,500 secured bond.

Eutiquio Chavez, 36, of Concord was charged with (F) Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Chavez was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Daniel Yachnin, 28, of Cornelius was charged with Felony Solicitation of a Child by Computer and Appearing. Yachnin was taken into custody and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

Outstanding Warrant

MPD has an outstanding warrant for Jose Beristain Solis, 39, of Mooresville for Solicitation of a Child by Computer.

Participating Agencies

The MPD expressed its appreciation to the following agencies for their assistance in Operation Artermis: Department of Homeland Security, United States Secret Service, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Highway Patrol Criminal Interdiction Unit, Iredell County Magistrates Office, Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, Belmont Police Department, Davidson Police Department, Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, Davie County Sheriff’s Office, Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, Huntersville Police Department, Kernersville Police Department, Liberty Police Department, Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, and Wake Forest Police Department.





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